What to Expect When You Come to the Family Therapy Program

Contact Us

The program is located on the third floor of the Potter building at Rhode Island Hospital. You can call us at 401-444-3534.

Maps diretions and parking information »

The Family Therapy Program coordinates care with the Outpatient Psychiatry Department, and is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Assessment

We begin with a comprehensive assessment. This is all we initially ask families to commit to, and all we commit to up front as well.

  • All family members age 12 and over complete a set of questionnaires,
  • Meet with at least one member of the family therapy team.
  • All family members will have a chance to lay out any issues or concerns they see themselves facing as a family, with the understanding that purpose of the meeting is simply to get a lay of the land, not to solve problems or manage crises.
  • The clinician will ask questions designed to help him or her get to know the family:
    • We want to learn what a typical day is like
    • How tasks in the family are divided up
    • How the family handles challenges all families encounter
    • Areas where things are running smoothly, and areas that feel more difficult.
  • The therapist will ask any outstanding questions.
  • The therapist will present his or her understanding of the family, gleaned both from questionnaire data and from the initial interview.
  • Family members will have an opportunity to add anything the therapist missed, or correct anything they feel the therapist got wrong.
  • Once the family and the therapist have come to a shared understanding of how the family operates and what the family is facing, the therapist will outline options for how to proceed, which may or may not include family therapy.
  • The therapist and the family then discuss how they want to proceed with the proposed options.

Contracting for Treatment

When families agree to enter treatment, they:

  • Identify specific issues they want to address, and specific steps they plan to take to address them.
  • They discuss with the therapist a reasonable timeframe for treatment.
  • Discuss expectations for attendance and tasks to be completed between sessions.

Treatment

  • Families and therapist discuss progress toward previously agreed upon goals.
  • They focus on successes or struggles in addressing an agreed upon problem list.
  • Families practice new ways of communicating, handling emotions, and problem solving in sessions.
  • Families identify tasks to be completed between sessions in order to address mutually agreed upon goals.

End of Treatment

Treatment ends when any of the following happens:

  • Both the family and the therapist agree that adequate progress has been made in the mutually agreed upon goals that were established at the beginning of treatment.
  • The family no longer wants to participate.
  • The family is unable to follow through on mutually agreed upon tasks.